Page 22 - EGO Magazine August 2019
P. 22

uni // prifysgol                                                                                                                                               uni // prifysgol






                                                                                                       The mobile Soundforms stage brings indoor musical performances outside. Credit: Flanagan Lawrence / Nick Gutteridge
       Theatres are evolving to


       reconnect us to each other


       and the environment


       By Andrew Filmer









                 heatre is a dynamic art   unconventional styles.  surrounding environment – the platform
                 form that combines   Now, theatres are changing once more.  flows between two trees – and embodies
                 bodies, light, sound and   Shaped by local social contexts, greater   a sense of experiment. Here performance
                 materials into exciting   ecological awareness and the mixing   might be a feast for all the senses.
                 live events. But while   of different art forms, performance   Theatre in the Wild meanwhile is a
      Teach show – whether it’s     spaces are becoming increasingly   temporary construction, made out of
       a play, concert, dance, or something else   diverse. Modern theatres are much more   reclaimed and recyclable materials. The
       – is unique, they are always conditioned   connected with their surroundings – and   staging area responds to the surrounding
       by the spaces and places in which they   so too are the performances they stage.  environment when the wind moves
       are made and performed.       Spaces of connection and interaction  it and shadows from nearby banana
         The theatres many of us go to to   The four winners of the Performance   trees play across it. Located in a rural   purpose auditorium Dox+ in the   House meanwhile is a temporary wooden  possible futures.
       watch live shows are still shaped by past   Space Design award at the recent 2019   landscape – in the village of Ping Che in   Czech Republic has revolving ceiling   building that the public can enter   For centuries, theatres have served as
       traditions. In the UK, the horseshoe-  Prague Quadrennial of Performance   the North District – which is threatened   panels that enable it to be acoustically   and experience different cooling acts   locations where people gather to share
       shaped auditoriums and picture frame   Design and Space – an exhibition and   by urban development, it is more than   tuned to the needs of spoken-word   performed by attendants. With their feet   in the excitement of live performance
       stages come from the stage-auditorium   arts festival that features the best of   simply a place to watch a show. It draws   or musical performances. Its light-  immersed in water, and a damp cloth   and reflect on what it means to be
       relationship that developed at the   design for performance from around   attention to the struggles of local people   coloured concrete walls and floor give   placed gently on their foreheads, they   human. As they continue to evolve in
       end of the 16th century in Italy. These   the globe – are great examples of how   and creates a space where art and nature   it a strong architectural presence and   can reflect on the importance of water in   response to pressing social, political and
       theatres are well equipped for elaborate   the design of theatre and performance   are in dialogue – and where residents,   identity. The walls are also visible during   our rapidly warming world.  environmental issues that concern our
       spectacles like musicals and opera,   space is changing. Each shows how   invited artists and visitors from the city   performances, so the audience is always   shared humanity, theatres are opening
       allowing spectators arranged in multiple   theatre spaces are evolving in ways that   can meet.  aware of where they are, and the here-  The most interesting new theatre and   up new possibilities for connection and
       layers – reflecting class differences – to   open up new possibilities for connection   The visually striking mobile concert   and-now reality of the event.  performances spaces are those that   interaction which remind spectators that
       gaze at another world constructed for   and interaction. This might be between   platform Soundforms (from the UK)   Other examples from the Quadrennial,  serve as integral parts of performance   we are never separate from the scenes we
       them on the stage.           performers and spectators, spectators   brings the acoustic qualities of an   such as The Living Stage (New York)   events rather than as mere containers   witness, whether in performance or in
         The dark interiors of black box   and other spectators, or performance   indoor concert hall to outdoor public   and Punctum’s Public Cooling House   for them. Theatre and performance   everyday life.
       studios – which are multi-purpose   events and their social, cultural and   spaces. Soundforms is shaped like a large   (Melbourne), were created in response   makers have increasingly explored sites,
       theatres common in many post-war UK   environmental contexts.  white shell lined with rows of acoustic   to community and ecological concerns.   places and locations beyond traditional
       arts centres, as well as in schools and   Two of the winners, the Levitating   panels. It differs from other outdoor   The Living Stage transformed a park   theatre buildings where their work can
       universities – reflect the desire of 20th   Theatre (from Poland) and Theatre   concert platforms – like California’s   in New York into a space of communal   engage audiences in new ways. Former   Originally published in
       century theatre-makers for more flexible,  in the Wild (Hong Kong), are outdoor   iconic Hollywood Bowl – because it   interaction and celebration. Recycled   industrial sites, town halls and places of   The Conversation www.
       experimental spaces. Popular since the   theatres. The Levitating Theatre is a   can be moved to different places and   materials and plants were used to create   worship have all been adapted to serve   theconversation.com/uk,
       1960s, these studio spaces seem to cut   small-scale, playful performance space   musicians don’t need to rely on electric   a performance space for a play created   as places for performance. The use of   republished under Creative
       performances off from the social world   that is both stage and outdoor dining   amplification to be heard clearly.  by local primary school children and   these spaces connects us to the past as   Commons licence.
       outside and enable more abstract and   table. The theatre is sensitive to the   And finally, the minimalist multi-  elderly residents. The Public Cooling   we contemplate the present and our




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